Let's be honest. If there's one thing that we Texans love most about our state, it's autumn. The kids are back in school and nighttime temperatures dip into the 70's. We begin to forgive and forget the oppressive heat our great state has just dragged us through. It's like what they say about childbirth. Once that beautiful baby is in your arms, you forget all the pain. October in Texas, is the beautiful baby.
With limitless sunny days and humidity a forgotten foe, our spirits lift as we once again, step outside to explore the world beyond air conditioning. Sure, we still throw on shorts and tees, but we dare to toss a cardigan or a sweatshirt in our truck. Texans are usually hospitable folks, but when the temperatures get cooler, they're downright genial. My husband thinks I ™m crazy, but I swear that drivers are friendlier on the fall roads. I see less speed-up-to-cut-in-front-of-you-moves followed by pantomime cursing and more go-on-ahead-of-me-nods with acknowleding wave-backs. Aint life great?
Armed with the knowledge that you're less likely to be a victim of road rage in the fall, I ™ve got a suggestion for you. Load up the troops and head on down to the Great State Fair of Texas!
Now I personally know some of you who think the place is filthy, the people are trashy, and the food is unhealthy. You're right on all three counts! It's a fair, for goodness sake! There aren't supposed to be white table cloths, everyone looks like trash by the end of the day covered with a thin layer of Texas dust, and no one ever promised that a helping of fried butter (you read correctly) or fried coca-cola (yummy, I swear) was going to be good for you. But I beg you to think less of how much antibacterial hand wash you ™ll need, and more about the great memories you could create with your family.
I grew up in Indiana, and every year my mom and dad and I went to the State Fair. Sure, it's not as big as the Texas State Fair, but there's just as much fun to be had. We always went to the different barns to check the prize-winning animals. The world's largest hog was a big draw, the sheep smelled horrible, and the different horses were beautiful. My dad and I rode a few of the rides, while my mom watched from the sidelines. The tractor pull was always fun to see, as well as the exhibits in the different halls sprinkled throughout the fairgrounds. Junk food was devoured. Lemon shake-ups, elephant ears, and sweet roasted corn on the cob were favorites, but we never once left the fairgrounds without an Italian sausage sandwich or two. These are great childhood memories for me, and I ™m sure if you take your kids down to Fairpark in October, you can create some fun yearly traditions and fond memories as well.
Head to the fair in the late afternoon or evening if possible. The crowds are lighter, and much of the good entertainment gets started when the sun goes down. No matter the age of your kids, don't miss the Pig Races. Even college aged big kids find it hard to be cool when the dressed up oinkers hit the track. Same goes for the stunt dog show and herding demonstration, those dogs know how to work a crowd. From here, make your way over to the rides. I ™ve learned from experience that an empty stomach makes for a more pleasant ride. Be sure to hit the Texas Star Ferris Wheel, which is so big it can be seen miles away; it's a beautiful ride at night. Everyone enjoys the Starlight Parade which begins at 7:15 nightly and is kicked off with the ever impressive U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps. Colorful floats wind through the fair with costumed characters and moving lights.
Next, I ™d go for some good food, and I ™ll throw in a tip for free. Never buy two of anything! There is so much food to sample at the fair; the idea is to taste a variety, not to get filled up on one thing. It's almost sacrilegious to leave the State Fair of Texas, without eating a Fletcher's Corny Dog, so be sure to hit this famous booth. This year's winning fried entries promise to be yummy, so I ™ll be trying both the Fried Butter and the Fried Peaches and Cream.
My hubby will want to check out the Classic Corral's selection of vintage autos. Each night a different local group displays their beauties, and owners chat with car enthusiasts. Boys of all ages, including some husbands, will want to stop by East Park Plaza to hop in a simulator and play the video racing game Forza. This highly anticipated game won't be released until November, but Texas fairgoers can take their turn in October.
There's so much to see and do, and a whole month to accomplish it. Take time in October to enjoy the cooler days, spend time with your family, and relish the slower pace of a fair. Build some memories with your kids and remember another reason why you love this state. Be sure to tell Big Tex I said, Howdy!